‘No threats, but not willing to take risks’ – Muscat

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat says Malta will not take any risks during upcoming Valletta Summit and CHOGM • Muscat says he does not believe Simon Busuttil's claims that he only learnt of Joe Cassar's Gaffarena links last week

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has dispelled any fears that Malta would be under any threats while hosting two major world events this month, but nevertheless insisted that certain measures had to implemented to ensure the safety of the country and its guests.

Speaking during an interview on One Radio, the prime minister said the Valletta Summit and the CHOGM being held in Malta would see the arrival of around 8,000 guests and foreign dignitaries in Malta. Acknowledging that the two events would undoubtedly put a strain on Malta’s infrastructure and resources, Muscat said he has to make sure that the country is safe.

“My job is to take into account the worst possible scenarios … We are not ready to take any risks, I have to make sure that everyone is safe,” Muscat said. The prime minister also defended the government’s decision to close off several roads ahead of the Valletta Summit and the CHOGM, and the decision to suspend the Schengen agreement, and explained that even though these decisions may be inconvenient to some, they were necessary for national security purposes.

In an effort to bulk up security, Muscat said an agreement had been reached for an RAF jet and Royal Navy resources to be deployed in Malta during the event.

Comparing the upcoming Valletta Summit to when US President Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met in Malta and the Bush and Gorbachev Summit, Muscat said the summit “presents the first real opportunity for African and European leaders to agree on concrete measures aimed at addressing the migration crisis.”

Muscat also claimed that the meeting presents a big vote of confidence for Malta and that it would be the first opportunity for European and African leaders to face each other.

Turning his attention on the resignation of former PN health minister Joe Cassar, the prime minister said he did not believe that the Opposition leader only learnt of the issue last week. As a result, the Opposition should ‘come clean’ and declare when he learnt that Joe Gaffarena had paid for works on Joe Cassar’s house, the prime minister said.

“Initially, Busuttil said he believed Joe Cassar and also vouched for his integrity. He continued to defend him and eventually accepted Cassar’s resignation for spokesman for culture while still saying he believed in him. Two days later, Joe Cassar resigned from parliament.”

“If it were for Simon Busuttil, the issue would have stopped there and Joe Cassar would have not resigned from parliament – even though Busuttil was aware of the facts,” Muscat said.

Muscat also said that Busuttil was not an incongruent situation with the cases of Nationalist MPs Claudio Grech, Toni Bezzina, and former Gozo minister Giovanna Debono still hanging over the PN.